In today’s vehicles, there are so many moving parts that can cause the shakes that just contemplating the price tags gives us the shudders.
In the meantime, we’re heading into wheel vibration season (didn’t know there was such a thing?) and getting to know the basics of why our rides shake can go a long way in minimizing the problem. In some cases, we can even fix the problem in our driveways without spending a penny.
Vibrations in tires and wheels
Normally, once a wheel and tire assembly is balanced, it can’t become unbalanced and cause vibrations on its own. A missing balance weight, a pothole or curb hit, or a problem with the rubber itself, such as a shifted belt, is usually responsible for putting them out of alignment. Among the list above is the most common reason (and one to expect with winter looming): accumulation of ice and snow on wheel covers and inside rim ledges.
On those days when the temperature drops suddenly and dramatically overnight after a wet and slushy commute, the snowy muck that builds up on wheel covers can freeze and stick on the wheels with a concrete consistency. Driving on unpaved roads can cause the same problem, especially in wet weather, since muddy grit can cling to wheels just as tightly as frozen slush or ice.
Vibrations caused by ice and how to fix them
Snow, ice, and slush can build up on wheels throughout the year. The most effective way to remove them is to park in a heated indoor garage or use a manual wash-bay to use their pressure wands to blast them clean. The holes on most rims allow water to be sprayed in from outside. Pressure washers are not very effective at blasting away mud and grit build-ups; they must be scraped off manually instead. It is often necessary to remove the wheels to accomplish this task.